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Searching For The Truth

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"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page."

- Saint Augustine


 Legend:

Bold: Flashbacks/Nightmares

Italics/Underline: Time/Scene/Day & Year Change/Spirits & Animal Spirits communicating

Italics: Character Perspective/Character Thoughts (No POV only)/Speaking via communicators and/or transmissions


 Prologue: The Corona Aurora


12:00…

Saturday…

12th May 2006…

Canon: Pre-Kick Into Overdrive

(Scene: Hidden Cave Network, Underneath Scottish Medieval Castle, Scotland, Europe, Earth/Kimberly's POV)

I ran through the underground cave network, after stumbling across it while myself and my former Archaeology lecturer and billionaire: Dr. Andrew Hartford were exploring. We finally managed to pinpoint… not exactly pinpoint but find the location of the Corona Aurora. An ancient crown, bearing five coloured gems: red, yellow, blue, black and pink. After working together, we finally managed to make sense of my father's cryptic notes. Andrew opened the secret tunnel by pulling a hidden switch, behind the suit of armour. Once I entered, a trap triggered, separating myself and Andrew. I momentarily took my mind off the past as I dived for the next chamber. Somehow, I managed to set off the very trap when I entered, that sent boulders on top of me as well, I didn't hear the weight of my gear clang to the ground. Andrew decided to stay back, head to the four by four jeep and monitor my movements because he felt my old ranger instincts will keep me alive; and I do have a second pair of eyes: Rhea, who failed to see the trap! Second pair of eyes my ass. I pulled myself up, wiping the dirt off my hiking pants and checking if my tracker isn't damaged. So, what was I saying? Oh yes! Andrew and I managed to decipher my father's notes, with some help from my husband Tommy, the longest and best serving ranger. He's famous among the ranger circle for bearing the most colours: green, white, red and black, along with Hayley and Billy.

We got married before Christmas last year, invited a good majority of our parents and the past rangers. Jason, as my surrogate brother, was chosen as Best Man; Aisha was fine with me picking Trini as Maid of Honour, while she, Kat and Tanya were the bride's maids. No hard feelings there and it saved me from playing referee between two Yellow Rangers. On top of that, Andros got Aria and Dulcea to come down for the wedding ceremony; my uncle would have come, but questions would be asked. He opted that we send of video of the ceremony to him. After the wedding, Tommy and I also had to go through the traditional Eltarian ceremony. It did lead to some arguments, I had a good verbal fight with the Eltarian Council, while having my aunt, uncle and mother backing me up. I even had Jason and the others over on my home planet too and they hated the fact the Council did not approve the union of an Eltarian and a 'feeble' Earthling. It was so discrimative and narrow minded of them. Let's just say, Tommy was getting a spout of verbal abuse, along with Cassie, especially as they had no high standing or equivalent to noble on Earth. However, seeing none of us were budging, the Council gave in with reluctance, but it didn't affect my standing with the army. I'm just on icy terms with the Council itself now. Back to the main subject, while he was reluctant to let me go to Andrew's mansion in San Angeles, he was accepting that I needed to do this on my own; therefore, Tommy is taking care of Rex for me. I swear, that dog is going to be odd with me for a while, nothing but a few treats will do the trick. Though… if Rex isn't odd with me, he's going to be glued to my side; not literally. He does get a little needy and clingy sometimes.

I turned on the flashlight attached to my backpack, to illuminate the cavern. Let there be light, they say. If you're wondering who Rex is, he's my service dog and why does a former Power Ranger need a service dog? I still have Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, it sort of built up over the years. It started when Ivan Ooze almost succeeded in killing my father: the powerful, Grand Sage Zordon of Eltar, I hope the Spirit World is treating him well; and destroyed our Command Centre, which in a way, violated our home. I never did open up to my friends how much that incident affected me. Second was Muranthias, last time I promised myself that I would go on a 'relaxing' trip with my big brother Jason Scott; Original Red Tyrannosaurus Ranger. Being turned evil was not fun, particularly for Tommy and Kat. It was Tommy in the end, of course, to set me free. That wasn't the end of it, I was left a little reminder that I was under Maligore's control, he left me an alter ego named Firebird. Trust me, you do not want to meet her. The final straw was Countdown To Destruction, I was on the frontline of the battle for Eltar, even leading the army, beside my mother: Aria, as a Lieutenant. I lost too many friends and comrades, the closest friend I lost was Bohan. I'm slowly coming to terms with his death, it was the toughest on me. He was like another Jason, he was my brother. Those three events is what led to me having PTSD. Then I blamed myself for almost destroying Reefside when Mesogog set Firebird free and after that, was the little trip to Parallel Earth, where I wasn't freed of Firebird's control. She managed to defeat every single team, make them powerless and used the Power Coins to create her Ranger Solider Battalion. My team aided the rebels and defeated their tyrannical ruler and killed her, I literally killed myself, stabbing the other Kimberly through the heart with the Dragon Dagger. It sort of scared me, the thought that could have been me, on our own Earth. I shudder to think about situations on other Earths, where… I am evil, without Firebird in control. Is there another Kimberly out there, who went through so much tragedy it made her snap or a world where Tommy and I swapped places? The Multiverse is fascinating as it is scary.

Suddenly, I stopped in front of the next chamber, finding a stone pedestal with an engraving on it. There was dust and dirt all over it, so I wiped my hand across it, to reveal the writing underneath. If Zach finds out that I'm out of Reefside, hearing I have gone Indiana Jones or Lara Croft from Tomb Raider, I will never hear the end of it from him! He will most likely baptise me with the title of - Kimberly Hart: Power Raider or that kind of bullshit? I told Rhea to remind me to kill him if he does, she gladly agreed; now I wonder if I should be worried or not. Nah, I won't be sorry for either him or his Dimosaur Spirit. Returning my attention to the pedestal, I read the writing that was written in another langauge. It's Ancient Greek, which caused me to frown, why was it buried in the rural and isolated part of Scotland? If I remember my father's notes, the Crown of the Gods, its name translates to, originated from Greece. What caused the original owner to move it all the way here? On Scottish lands? Pushing aside side questions, I began to translate the tablet, too bad some of it was worn away, I could just about make out the writing. Something about trials and only the ones worthy can retrieve the power that can might the Gods themselves. Trials… fuck! Damn it Hartford! You could have warned me about that.

Taking a deep breath, I moved onto the next chamber, where the first trial is set. The chamber was a long eerie corridor, covered in thick spider webs. Oh man! Zach will probably faint at the sight. That was when I felt something crawl up my shoulder and the feeling is familiar, except the movement were slow and there was slight weight on the legs. Turning my head, I see a large tarantula, with a span of four inches; including leg span, on my shoulder! Dear god! Too many eyes! The bloody thing had hairs all over, that can be used as a weapon and the fangs… the fangs! I could see them! I instantly reacted by flicking it off. Fuck! My entire body shivered, I'm going to have nightmares for a week! Who the hell imported tarantulas to Scotland!? Zach would faint without a doubt. What is it about this particular trial? I pulled out my father's notes, seeing that he managed to figure out a way to pass the trials, without becoming another death number. I can't believe I'm only reading it now, there was no time before hand to read all of his research in his leather notebook. What have we here now? It's a trial about trusting your senses than your eyes, the key is to not trust your eyes. Who says I have to use my own eyes, when I have another? The perks of being a Ninjetti. Rhea materialised in front of me, flying through the webs to find something that will turn off the trap. The webs were thick, I could barely see the pink aura Rhea was giving off. She told me there was a contraption, to my left and a rope to disengage it. Shit! I have to go through the corridor. Steeling myself, I made careful steps towards Rhea. That was when I heard something, the webs were beginning to move, giving the impression of a… supernatural or ghostly presence, but it sounded like… a buzzsaw!? Rhea screamed at me to duck now, which I just did, rolling underneath and feeling the buzzsaw miss my head by mere inches. I pulled on the rope to disable the trap. I looked back, fuck! That could have been me, all sliced and diced. Nasty way to die for some who tried. Seriously? Whoever set this trap, must have been foreshadowing Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. If the second trial asks me to name a god in Latin, there was some definite foreshadowing.

I moved onto the second trial, while slowly peeling off some of the spider webs, but some of the silk strands were stubborn and refused to budge. I decided to leave it, it's not bothering me anyways. Entering the next chamber, well… this is different. It was a small room, with weird looking tiles. I had a look around, seeing four different coloured structures, blue, yellow, black and orange. On the wall was a clue or a riddle that needed to be solved, as the other side of the door was sealed shut. The inscribing said in Greek: 'Το αίμα των Θεών', which translates to 'The blood of the Gods'. Well that's absolutely helpful. I took the tiles either way, just in case, placing them into my pocket. Turning my attention to the door, I saw a ray of light coming from the other side. Not just any light, sunlight, which is white light. The hole was carved to perfectly fit the structures I took. Interesting… I took a step back, only to step on a mechanism. I suddenly heard something collapse. You got to to be fucking kidding me!? I looked, to see the floor slowly disappearing, the tiles falling into an endless drop. Shit! Moving to the door, I knew I had to solve this fast. The blood of the Gods? I pondered on the coloured tiles. It's a colorimetric puzzle! OK, colour of the Gods. They definitely don't bleed like humans, I turned to see about a fifth of the floor gone. If the trials were constructed by the Greeks, there was something they always wrote about the their gods. What was it? They bleed ichor! Rhea was yelling at me to hurry up. Stop adding more stress! I'm already stressed as it is! What colour is ichor? Come on Kim! Think! GOLD! They bleed gold ichor! I pulled out the yellow and orange coloured tiles from my pocket, placing them in, but it wasn't right. The colour didn't appear right. Fuck! Of course they're in the wrong way! Pulling them out quickly, I swapped the colours, putting in orange, then yellow. Turning the light to gold and then, the collapsing of the floor stopped, seeing that there was only a small portion of the floor left. Too close for comfort. Stepping out, I decided to put the remaining two tiles in my backpack for research purposes.

Moving on now, finally! The final test. I saw on the other side, was the Corona Aurora, the only thing separating me from it, was this large chasm. Even with my ranger powers, I can not make this jump. I took my father's notes once again, reading it is a Leap of Faith. Great, cause I have a lot of faith in myself and God! Then it hit me, more Indiana Jones 3 foreshadow, the final trial in the film. Oh wow! The Greeks sure are clever, huh? It's a fucking illusion, the stone bridge is right in front of me. I knelt down, to pick up a handful of dirt and blew over the invisible bridge, which is now visible. How did the Greeks manage that? I know they somehow created Greek Fire, though the formula is long lost in time, but how did they create illusions? Unless they had outside help. Maybe… our history with other planets outside Earth, are more intertwined than we thought. Unfortunately, humans here don't want to associate their history with 'aliens'. It'd be too much for them to comprehend. I walked across the stone bridge, reaching the crown. I stared in awe of its beauty, such craftsmanship has gone into it, it looks like a Medieval crown, but there was some… Byzantium influence in its design. There was a gorgeous glow from the crown, it was well kept, not a single bit or speck of dust coated the pure gold metal. Slowly, I reached out for the crown, taking it off the stone stand. After so much research and countless all nighters, it has finally paid off! I'm sure my dad, Kevin Hart would have loved to see this. Without warning, there was a seismic tremor that went off, nearly making me lose my balance. What was that about? Next thing took me by surprise, a spirit of some kind appeared before me. Is that…

"Greetings Eltarian, I am the Sentinel Knight. Keeper of the Corona Aurora." He introduced. "I gravely tell you, that you have unknowingly unleashed a great evil on the world. They will stop at nothing to retrieve the crown and its jewels." Well shit! A warning would have been nice, something like: 'Remove Corona Aurora at your own peril. You will wake Moltor and Fluious'! "Protect the crown young Eltarian, or the world will be doomed!" Sentinel Knight disappeared from view. All of sudden, the entire cavern began to shake. Fuck! The whole place is coming down! I saw my exit and bolted for it. I ran through the cave, rocks and boulders falling behind me. Sentinel Knight could have warned me that he was going to bring the entire cavern, along with the castle down. I hope the people of Scotland won't miss this. Then my earpiece crackled to life.

"Kim! What's going on?",

"This place is falling apart!" I yelled, "Get out of there Andrew, I'll find you!",

"Just like your father." He muttered and disconnected. Which one is he on about? Kevin or Zordon? I kept running, while fumbling for the hook to attach the crown to. Sorry if I get it scratched Andrew. As I ran, I found my exit, but it was separated by another deep chasm. Fate likes to be an ass to me. I unhooked my climbing axe and took a few steps back. Focusing on one point, I went into a full on sprint, leaping for the edge. I slammed the edge with the axe, sliding down the rock, before stopping, leaving me hanging. Using my upper body strength, I managed to pull myself up, before seeing a large rock come hurtling towards me. Shit! Unfortunately or fortunately, however you see it, the rock hit my axe, dislodging it, sending me falling. I screamed out as I fell. That was when I heard water, it's a river! I hit the water, hard and only to realise it wasn't just a river, it was a rapid. It dragged me along, as I attempted to keep my head up.

I saw fallen rocks and other obstacles that I had to dodge, along with being slammed into a few of them; ribs first of course. I'm going to be feeling that the next day, but I promised I will be calling Tommy later tonight. I am not going to die this way and Zordon, along with Bohan will kick me out of the Spirit World, unless it spits me back out first. I finally saw light at the end, but my hopes quickly dashed as I realised its a one-hundred-and-ninety foot waterfall! Oh shit!

"You got to be kidding me!?" I said to myself, out loud! The waterfall flung me off the edge, in the time span I have to minimise impact, I straightened myself out, crossing my arms. It wasn't long before my feet hit the water's surface. I can somewhat thank my Eltarian genes, while that height was the highest recorded dive from a human, I don't know if they'd survive this. As I'm Eltarian, I'm able to take more impact that would kill or seriously injure someone. I swam out of the river, pulling myself onto dry land. Definitely enjoyed that moment, I leaned on a tree to catch my breath. Have to contact Andrew. Switching on my earpiece, I called for the archaeologist. "Andrew? Do you hear me?",

"You're alive! Thank god!" He replied,

"I'm Eltarian Andrew, as well as a veteran ranger. I'm not easy to put down." I chuckled. "Do you have my co-ordinates?",

"I do. I'm coming now, stay where you are." He ordered,

"Standing by." I said. I unhooked the crown from my waist, seeing it survived the whole ordeal; without a scratch! How!? There must be some sort of enchantment on this. No artefact would have survived all that without a scratch or even a dent. I think there's more to the Greeks than History leads us to believe. Would my home planet be visiting Earth?

I waited fifteen minutes for Andrew to arrive, that was when I heard the jeep. I looked up, to see him at the top, so I began to climb up, despite the burning protest in my muscles. I can't wait to hit the hotel we're staying in and spend two or three hours at the jacuzzi and with the masseuse also. Reaching Andrew, I handed the crown to him, watching as he stared at it in wonder. Father's research wasn't in vain, but did he have to leave? Were there other shady organisations breathing down his neck for his work? I have so many questions. Andrew turned to open a reinforced steel box and carefully placed the Corona Aurora into it, with the gentleness of a trained archaeologist. A part of me feels glad I took that Archaeology Elective, then I never would have met Andrew Hartford and never realising the connection he has with my father. Though… even if I did not meet him, he would still find a way to send me that package with his message. Fate works in mysterious ways. Andrew got my attention to get in the jeep to drive back to civilisation. I hopped into the car, looking back to where the Scottish Medieval castle once stood, I really feel bad for sending the entire structure down now. That's a bit of history from The Dark Ages gone, perhaps that should be my next research paper to publish. Not much of Medieval Times were left behind, not like the era of The Roman Empire and the massive Greek History and others. Feeling how exhausted I am, I decided to get some shut eye.

20:00…

(Scene: Mar Hall Drive, Bishopton PA7, Scotland, Europe, Earth/Kimberly's POV)

I sat on the bed with my nightwear on me. Even though Andrew and I were here to recover the crown, he's also a freaking billionaire and spared no expense on the nicest hotel in Scotland. That being the Mar Hall Golf and Spa Resort, a five-star hotel. Jesus Andrew! I almost bashed his head in with my fist! All I packed with me were clothes suited for the purpose we were here for and I felt like a filthy casual in such a fancy hotel. It was awkward. Once we got back, Andrew did check on me for injuries, only minor cuts and bruises though, my Accelerated Healing will sort that out, but… I bruised my ribs too; not the first time however. Anyways, I really needed that massage, the masseuse got so many cricks and knots out of me. She did question me about my scars, which made me awfully uncomfortable; so I tried to be as vague as I possibly could. Although, whatever oil she used, it certainly soothed some of the agitation from them, particularly the scar that ran between my shoulder blades to the small of my back. Not a single phantom pain from it, it was heaven! But thanks a lot Darkonda, sometimes I think when he takes over for Ecliptor, he found joy in torturing me. Darkonda enjoyed it! What sociopathic bastard! I'm glad Dark Spectre killed him after he got stabbed in the back by him. That henchman had his own game plan. Other than that, he was brutal, but precise, every incision he made into my back, every strike from the blade; quick or slow, he wanted to inflict as much pain as he could on me. All Ecliptor did was either beat me with his fists or struck me with the leather or electric whips till I caved to give him information.

I thought back to the others, Jason and Trini were obviously the first two to know that I left Reefside. I had to give Mrs. Mercer; you may remember her as Elsa/Principal Randall, she finally got married to Dr. Anton Mercer, those two and Trent are now one happy family, some notice that I may not be back for the new school year. I told her that I gave my aunt, Dulcea, a call. She knows Dulcea's history, along with her cover name Diana Prince. Dulcea was fine with covering my class until I return, she understood the journey I was taking was personal. I told Dulcea that I was also looking into my adoptive father's disappearance too. She even offered some aid, if we needed further information on the Corona Aurora, my aunt was around for its creation, but she never met its creator nor my uncle, Ninjor. So, my History Class for this year; which is almost finished actually, and two-thousand-and-seven will be covered. Back to Jason and Trini, those two didn't exactly like the idea that I was leaving to aid Dr. Hartford for the mythical crown that could send us to God knows where along the four corners of the Earth, it took some convincing to calm them down; but they demanded to be updated and that I do not die. Billy and Kat were well aware, as Billy himself was involved in helping locate the crown. Kat was on standby to lecture me if I did something Red Ranger stupid. Zach… well, he'll hear about this somehow, word travels fast among rangers and then tease me about it. Aisha and Rocky, were a different story, Mama Bear in particular; she thought I must have this obsession for going on death defying adventures and gave me a long lecture; which I had to sit through over the phone, as I listened to Rocky munch on a bowl of popcorn. I honestly don't know who's worse from my insane ranger family. I'm practically getting lectured by everyone! How did I forget about Aegis and Cassie? Aegis still has to pop the question, but he's too terrified; that cousin of mine! He needs a push or a hard shove! He was fine about it, just told me not to die. Yeah, not to die and I've been through that a few hours ago. Just remembering, sorry cousin, Jason and Trini beat you to that. The only people who don't know is my adoptive mother and stepfather, I still struggle to get along with Pierre, but that's beside the point. Mother would have a heart attack or worse if she heard I was chasing after the Corona Aurora, which she; like so many others believed was a fairytale. The very fairytale that drove apart the happy family I thought I would have.

I turned to the bedside table, reaching for my mobile phone. Andrew ensured that we won't be getting Roaming Charges. I dialled in Tommy's phone number, he told me ring him regardless of time difference. If I'm correct, it's probably twelve mid day now, in or around that; Tommy will be so happy to hear my voice and know that I'm still breathing. I waited for him to answer the phone, unless he idiotically misplaced it, but knowing Tommy, he'll place it somewhere he will remember, or have it on him. When it comes to me, he remembers everything. It didn't take long for my call to be received and I was met by a very excited voice on the other side of the phone.

"Is that you Kim?" He asked,

"Who else Handsome?" I teased,

"It's so good to hear your voice." Tommy said, with genuine relief in his tone. He hates it when I get hurt. "Did you and Hartford find the crown?",

"Locked and stored away. It was a bit more eventful than I thought.",

"You don't say, huh?" Replied Handsome, "I'm pretty sure I saw brief flashes of huge rocks falling on your head and you taking a dive down a hundred-and-ninety foot waterfall!" Damn it Rhea! I hear her chuckle in my head, she wasn't sorry. If she was a physical bird, I'd clip her wings and use her feathers for a pillow! Tommy just sighed. "What do I expect from, what Zach now nicknamed you as: the Power Raider?" Fuck sake Zach! Of course he'd find out eventually. He already got he nickname down, I'll be suffering teasing for a week from the others. I groaned out loud, making Tommy laugh.

"Remind me to kill Zach." I muttered,

"You can't hide anything from him." He teased, "I think it's badass. It's good to know I have a fierce, kickass wife.",

"I'm flattered." I joked. I turned to the time to see it was getting late. Andrew and I are leaving in his private jet in the morning to return to the mansion and I should get some sleep. "Hey Tommy, I'm going to hit the hay. I'm sorry to cut this short.",

"Don't be sorry. We'll ring again sometime. Though I can drive up to San Angeles, it's only a three hour drive from Reefside." Offered Tommy,

"That'd be nice. Goodnight Tommy.",

"Night Beautiful." And we hung up. Well, at least Tommy knows I'm OK. That boy, he gets so overprotective. Hm… I can't remember though, if Aegis actually told him and my friends the brawl I started when I was on Eltar. In my defence, I was not drunk and perfectly sober. I went to get another drink for myself, Alura and Bohan, only to run into a group of highly drunk soliders; and they pissed me off. To finally add, the drunk ring leader threw first punch, not me! Then I also started another when I was undercover on Onyx. I actually started that and I have to say, that was fun too. Setting my phone down, I turned off the bedside lamp and let sleep take me.

Two Days Later…

14:00…

Monday…

14th May 2006…

(Scene: Underground Base, Hartford Mansion, San Angeles, California, Earth/Kimberly's POV)

I walked around Andrew's base of operations, going through the scrolls on the crown, even trying to figure out how and where to locate its five gems. From what I know, the Sentinel Knight removed the gems and scattered them across the Earth. That was after two feuding brothers: Moltor and Fluious attempted to steal it. Brothers? Geez, that must be some dysfunctional family. Too bad I stupidly reawakened them. The scrolls say the gems can take on another form when removed from the crown. Just great! Make work more difficult. I looked to Andrew as he was going through some files, he is setting up a new ranger team to help recover the gemstones and protect the crown. I haven't told him that I do not want to be a ranger again, my ranger days are far behind me. I'm stepping away from the ranger world. Anyways, I need to focus on finding my father, it sounds selfish, but it's time I put family first. It was bad enough mom freaked out when she learned the truth, she'll have another heart attack if she heard I'm back wearing spandex again.

I saw on the computers Andrew had his chosen pick for the ranger team narrowed down to four, after scanning the roughly seven billion people on this Earth. I stared at the names: Veronica 'Ronny' Robinson, William 'Will' Aston, Rose Ortiz and Dax Lo. They're nearly all young adults, I sort of frowned at the odd mismatch. A Formula One racer, good on her for such a male dominated sport, she'll be quite the role model for young girls; a spy for hire, a Mensa level genius who entered university at eight, doesn't seem like she had much of a childhood, grew up way too quickly; and then a film stuntman. The spy for hire and the genius I understand, but why a stuntman and a racer? I stared at the archaeologist who seemed to have had the colours sorted out. Veronica will be given the Yellow Overdrive powers, William - Black, Rose - Pink and Dax - Blue, but who'll be red? Who's going to be the leader? Andrew saw the analytical look I had on my face and knew what I was going to ask.

"You're wondering about Overdrive Red?",

"Read me off the bat Hartford." I answered. Andrew walked over to the silver case, opening it, revealing the Overdrive Morphers. Billy helped him create and link them to the Morphing Grid. He picked up one morpher, I'm guessing is the Red Overdrive Morpher and pointed it towards me. Me? He wants me to lead the team as Overdrive Red!? Why not his son Mackenzie or Mack for short? That was when he spoke to me.

"You have the most experience. I want you to be the Red Overdrive Ranger and lead Operation Overdrive." Sadly, I shook my head, much to his dismay.

"I'm sorry Andrew. I have to decline, I can't go back to the ranger world again.",

"Kimberly, come on." He persisted, but I stepped back.

"I said no Hartford!" My tone raised slightly, "I can't. Recruit someone else to lead. I can mentor at the side, but looking for my father is my top priority. That is where our paths diverge.",

"If you say so." The billionaire archaeologist conceded to my wish, sighing. Andrew put the morpher back in the box and locked it. He turned his attention to the screen once more. At least we have four fifths of the team, that's a good start. All we need is to get them to come to the mansion and knowing Andrew, he has that sorted.

"It won't be long till Moltor and Fluious come after the crown." I said to him,

"Well then." He said, "Time to initiate Project Operation Overdrive."